An Appointed Time

Habakkuk 2:3 AMPC For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.

This promise was given to me in 1981. From time to time I revisited it and wondered if the Lord had forgotten His promise. As you may have read in my early posts, my siblings and I grew up in an extremely abusive home. Some siblings will turn against each other but we did not. As adults we grew apart but I prayed earnestly for us to come back together after our parents died. God gave me the above promise during a family crisis in 1981 and I held onto it desperately. Now we are all older and various health issues are becoming noticeable.

Recently an older brother was put in a nursing home. Our prayers focused on him intently because he was the brunt of physical and emotional violence as a child that shaped his life, his marriage and his children. Although he is a Jesus-follower, he has carried bitterness that made staying in touch difficult. Still, we saw the good deep down inside of him and understood the deep wounding, and increased our prayers. When I went to visit him, he was open to listening to some of my gentle comments about how God had healed me. Even after forgiving our parents and others, I still had unhealed wounds and discovered that Jesus would take my griefs and sorrows and give me a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

A younger brother has managed to forgive and cancel our parents’ debts and has also experienced extensive emotional healing. The two men live several states away from each other, but recently the younger made it a point to visit the elder brother. After a casual conversation the younger brother offered to pray the Aaronic Blessing over the elder brother with words of explanation.

The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26 RSV)

When the prayer was ended both the elder brother and his wife were weeping. Then to the younger brother’s surprise, the elder brother blessed his younger brother! Oh, what a surprise and utterly thrilling! It was an unexpected and very sacred moment. Though the younger brother has blessed his siblings in lieu of an absent father, nobody has blessed him. That his elder brother would bless the younger one took on huge meaning. Later I shared with the younger brother the above verse promised to me so long ago. There is still spiritual work to be done in our family but our faith is high that our Lord and Master will complete His work in us and we will become one in Jesus.

Are You Afraid of Intimacy?

Intimacy means to be known by someone. They know your strengths and weaknesses, your hopes and dreams, your fears. God created the need and desire for intimacy within human hearts. Not only in marriage but in friendships. Relationships are the very essence of who we are as believers. Godly relationships provide stability and a sense of value and belonging. On the other hand, intimacy gone wrong can cause disappointment and intense pain when someone betrays us. Rejection and abandonment are traumas that children experience early in life and may withdraw from any offer of love from that point onward.

Intimacy reveals our weaknesses and neediness and we don’t like others to see that part of us. There is also the unspoken belief that we don’t deserve the love others extend to us. When we take the risk of exposing ourselves, we can end up tattered by deep wounding and rejection. Yet, we desire, we yearn for the closeness of love and acceptance.

People who avoid intimacy fear being controlled and manipulated if they share themselves. So they attempt to stay in control of their relationships. They enjoy rescuing and being looked up to by the needy and helpless. Those who have been abused as infants and young children identify “love” with the abuse they’ve suffered and they want no part of it as an adult.

When I first started fellowshipping with charismatics the men stood outside the place of worship to greet me with a hug. I guess they thought if they hugged me enough I would learn to like it. I did not. Distrust was a thread that ran through my being and I finally drifted away. I had walls instead of healthy boundaries. Even shaking hands a little too long was disturbing to me.

Being a Christian did not change this behavior but it did increase my longing for even one trustworthy friend who could celebrate my small joys and commiserate my griefs with me. When I started on the journey to emotional healing of Dissociative identity disorder (DID) I discovered that Jesus was that trustworthy friend I could pour out my heart to. He listened with such love as I could never have imagined. Slowly, as I felt secure in His compassion and mercy, I began to feel more willing to risk sharing myself with others. Resisting the urge to run from their love was a challenge but the deeper I went into Jesus (allowing Him to go deeper into me) the more stable I was.

I was elated to discover that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes. I asked Him if I could come to Him often for a hug, a kiss, or a lingering conversation and He reminded me of Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Since that time I have come to His throne often, sometimes several times a day just to worship Him and to be loved by Him, my Beloved. There are still times that I feel so undeserving, but if I step back from Him I immediately feel the cool breeze of distance and seek reconciliation.

Psalm 27:13 TMBA I would have fainted unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Even here and now in my 79th year I have been granted the privilege of not only seeing the Lord’s goodness but reveling in it. He is good beyond measure. He is amazing and beautiful, and fragrant. He has carried all my sins and griefs and sorrows. He has healed me of immune problems, broken generational curses and given me a healthy body with a lively step. He is worthy of all my love and trust.

God’s Hidden Ones

Isaiah 49:2 (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)  He has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand has He hid me and made me a polished arrow; in His quiver has He kept me close and concealed me.

Hebrews 4:12 (AMPC) For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

I’ve been watching various videos of some individuals known for their abilities in healing, deliverance, miracles, signs and wonders. I’ve also observed the attendees and their various questions, comments and  testimonies. One comment that sticks with me is that “I had to dumb it down for the common  people.” That disappointed me so much in the speaker and colored my perception of everything that followed. Attendees wanted to be noticed and acknowledged; testimonies needed to be more amazing than the other guy’s. How is this different from the traditional churches these individuals left?

Jesus didn’t seem to be the center of conversation. Relationship with Him didn’t seem to factor in except as it involved the power individuals wanted, and my heart sank. Fortunately, the names of leaders who deeply value relationship with Jesus were mentioned occasionally, so I knew those in the videos knew that Jesus would be first or He would not bless their striving for the miraculous. The miraculous should flow from relationship, should it not?

In contrast I attended a meeting where the person ministering knew Jesus and reached out in patience and gentleness to a small congregation who understood little of the supernatural. After patiently repeating concepts several times, he opened the meeting to those needing healing. Among the conditions he called out were multiple personalities in one individual who got a miraculous healing. Others received healing of diabetes, thyroid problems, arthritis, etc. My faith was so enriched and affirmed. I was one of those healed of arthritis.

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What about Jesus’ followers who are quiet and pursue Him passionately for who He is? That brought me to Isaiah 49 and verse 2 spoke to my heart. There are those who know the Lord and Master for who He is – Lord and Master. They bow down and offer themselves as bondservants, love slaves. And they know they are hidden until the Master releases them. They know the power in their Master’s words. They have submitted to the sanding of rough edges, and then being dropped into His  quiver to await the right time for being released. Meantime, they have learned the power of His Word and have learned from precious experiences that their Master is trustworthy. So they are pursuing intimacy with Jesus while waiting expectantly for God’s timing for their release into His divine purposes.

Habakkuk 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie. Though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come; it will not tarry.

Hebrews 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

God has not forgotten either you or His promises. He is absolutely trustworthy and you can count on Him. The time for your release is drawing near and He will reveal Himself through you, the humble, soft-spoken (no need to shout God’s words), and deeply committed ones.

Fierce Defender

Isaiah 49:24-26 Amplified Bible (personalized)

24 “Can the spoils of war be taken from the mighty man, Or the captive (my brother) of a tyrant (Satan) be rescued?”

25 Indeed, this is what the Lord says, “Even the captive of the mighty man (Satan) will be taken away, And the tyrant’s spoils of war (my brother) will be rescued; For I will contend with (my brother’s) opponent, And I will save My child (my brother).

26 “I will make those who oppress (my brother) consume their own flesh [in mutually destructive wars] And they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine; And all mankind will know [with a knowledge grounded in personal experience] that I, the Lord, am (my brother’s) Savior, and (his)  Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

 I have been pleading for the healing and restoration of a man who is fighting for his mind. He has been consigned to a nursing home as having dementia with other serious physical disabilities. His siblings are believers in Jesus and healing but they don’t know how to approach God’s throne boldly in faith. I suggested the above Scripture as a prayer to be prayed back to the One Who wrote this passage and is also The Healer.

Sometimes the most effective prayers are the Bible verses you feel drawn to as prayers in another person’s behalf. God’s promises to His little children for their protection are breathtaking. I have personally experienced my heavenly Father’s defense against opponents far bigger than me, even when I didn’t deserve it. The triune God is intensely jealous of His children’s love and runs to their defense when He hears their weak call for help. He is honored by those standing nearby, watching to see what God will do, when He thunders a warning and reaches out to lift the tormented one to safety.

Our God is an awesome God, worthy to be trusted as little children trust their parents. Thank you, Lord God, for Your gentle loving care when we are weak and helpless. Your tenderness and mercy are overwhelming. You leave me wordless!